Disbelief as FBI frames up St. Petersburg Florida man
Tampa, FL – On June 10, in one of hundreds of cases targeting Muslim Americans, a Florida family is in disbelief as the FBI successfully framed their son. Following years of FBI plotting and planning, a Florida jury found Sami Osmakac guilty. Osmakac, locked up in solitary confinement for the past two and a half years, is diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses, including schizoaffective disorder.
Speaking for the family of Sami Osmakac, his brother Avni Osmakac stated, “The whole trial was unfair from the beginning. The FBI terrorized my brother, who is a sick person. They're the ones really committing the crimes. They destroy lives, destroy families, and destroy democracy.” He went on to say, “The justice system has been thrown out of the window.”
The US government used informants and spies to coax Osmakac into making “radical YouTube videos”. The FBI eventually got him to buy fake weapons, with money the FBI gave him, and then arrested him on felony charges. Osmakac's trial is like many others in the US, where the government prosecutes Muslims and Arab-Americans for pre-emptive crimes—crimes the FBI sets up, but that are not actually committed. Osmakac's defense said that the FBI entrapped a mentally ill man.
The trial was marked by many problems. The government's case was based on a small number of recordings pieced together over multiple years. However, the US government kept thousands of other recordings secret, sighting “national security”. As well, the prosecution brought in paid witnesses unrelated to the case. Evan Kohlmann, a consultant who makes a living testifying in terrorism trials for the US government was hired to fabricate a “Hollywood” story to sway the jurors.
The trial is especially difficult for Osmakac's family. Like trials similar to this one, it is hard to find a lawyer who will work on this type of case. Eventually the family had to sell their house in order to raise money for the lawyer's costs that run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Antiwar and civil liberty activists are speaking out against the trial, and the persecution of Muslims, Arab-Americans and political activists. In Tampa, Mel Underbakke of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms said, “The really sad thing about these entrapment cases is that it traumatizes the whole family, not just the target of the entrapment.”
For the future Avni Osmakac hopes an appeal goes through. He said, “Where is all the evidence? Why are they hiding it all? People need to stop believing the government. If people want the real truth about Muslims, people should go out on the street and talk to one.”